Big Lake dance studio competes in national competitions virtually, and wins big
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Sometimes when life gets crazy, you just got to keep on dancing. That’s the case for a dance company in Big Lake, who once again took their skills to the national level this year. Coming off a strong showing in February taking first place at a regional competition in Portland, the Rock On Cloggers at All About Dance in Big Lake were ready to take on the national stage, then COVID-19 began to hit Alaska.
“It’s been a little bit harder because at first we couldn’t have practice for like two months, which made a really big impact and it was really hard,” said team member Erica Williams.
The dancers and their families were determined to get back into the studio. “The kids, a lot of times, are stuck at home. Parents are working. We are non-profit. We’re a low income area out here just keeping the kids moving,” said Director Chandra McCain-Finch. “We started two day a week classes with the kids when they lifted some of the mandates, and so the kids danced together all summer. Most of them now are home schooled or online schooling only so we spend a lot of time together. We are each other’s family.”
They weren’t going to let the pandemic stand in between them and the national trophies, so they decided to compete virtually. As a local non-profit dance studio that serves low income students the team relies heavily on fundraisers and donations to make it to the national stage. A generous donation from Big Lake Aurora Lions Club helped get the team seen by national judges this year.
“It was pretty cool. It was a good change of scenery and we got to dance in the rain which was kind of cool,” said team member Savannah Fettes. “It showed our Alaskan spirit a little bit more.”
They said they found ways to express their passion even through a pandemic, because to these kids, it’s more than just dance.
“It’s just a great supportive community, and no matter what, we’re always there,” said team member Ally Dansby. “I know because we stuck together so closely during such a scary unpredictable time. I know that they’ll be there for anything.”
The team competed in Starbound nationals for the first time this year through the virtual competition and were the first Alaska team to compete. They also competed virtually in the America On Stage competition where they took home 97 first place national finishes and a number with a perfect score.
The team is currently selling calendars for $25 to help make it to future competitions. For for information on the studio or fundraisers you can visit the studio’s Facebook page.
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